"Whale Wars" star Paul Watson freed on bail from German jail

Activists hang a placard picturing founder of marine conservation group Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson in front of the Federal Ministry of Justice in Berlin, Germany, on May 18, 2012. KAY NIETFELD/AFP/GettyImages

(CBS/AP) FRANKFURT, Germany - The founder of the environmental activist group Sea Shepherd has left a German jail after a court ordered him freed on bail pending a decision on whether he will be extradited to Costa Rica.

Paul Watson told reporters he was relieved to be free, a week after his detention at Frankfurt Airport on a Costa Rican warrant. He said Monday: "I didn't expect something that happened 10 years ago to sneak up on me in Germany."

Sea Shepherd group founder arrested in Germany

Costa Rica claims that Watson, a 61-year-old Canadian, endangered a fishing boat and its crew in 2002. Sea Shepherd says Watson was filming a documentary in 2002 when his team encountered an illegal shark-finning operation in Guatemalan waters.

Last Friday, a Frankfurt court ruled that Watson could be freed on euro250,000 ($320,000) bail.

Watson and Sea Shepherd are the subject of the Animal Planet reality series, Whale Wars.

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